Review of Thunderobot ST-PRO

| May 6, 2017

Qualitative smartphones from China do not surprise us. In the comments almost to any post are witnesses of the sect of “Chinese Apple”, the correlation of price and power in such gadgets beats all records … But that’s a laptop, and even immediately a game? Somehow I can not believe, and there is no desire to check, risking a large sum. Therefore, our review today is the most biased, detailed and capricious. Let’s see what the Chinese play there at home.

Introduction

The name of our hero is Thunderobot ST-PRO. Have you ever heard of such a brand? And in vain, because the development and assembly of this comrade is one of the largest electronic conglomerates in China, which has more than 30 years of steady growth and development – Haier. So the device is by no means ungrounded. The manufacturer is known for the strictest attitude towards the quality of gadget making, which means that the laptop will please the owner not only those two weeks that we tortured him with tests and tests, but also the whole service life.

NVIDIA has made a huge gift to all gamers in 2016 year. The new GPUs proved to be so powerful and cool that the concept of “laptop graphics” is quietly gone. There is a GTX 1060, and it is the same for a PC and for a laptop. Yes, frequencies may differ (still a large card in a separate case is slightly easier to cool), but the configuration of the chip itself is the same.

That’s why 15-inch screen tear in all tests the results of last year’s tops. This laptop can not boast of the most expensive “stuffing” or two video cards, but beats the other – a truly Asian balance.

  • Type: gaming notebook
  • Housing: plastic, aluminum
  • Screen: IPS-matrix, 15.6 “, 1920×1080, matte
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 2.8-3.8
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 6 GB GDDR5
  • Memory: 16 GB, DDR4-2400
  • Storage: SSD 512 GB M.2
  • Interfaces: 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 / Type-C, 3x USB 3.1 Gen1, HDMI, 3x 3.5 audio (line out, microphone, headphones), RJ-45, 2x mini-DisplayPort
  • Wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Multimedia: microphone, two speakers with SoundBlaster X-Fi 5mb technology
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Battery: 60 Wh, built-in
  • Dimensions: 385x271x26 mm
  • Weight: 2.5 kg

Explain this assembly is simple. The flagship processor with a margin will not let the new-fashioned toys “starve” for capacity, the GPU will always be loaded in full, and even the queer Watch Dogs 2 will not feel the typical bottleneck with the underload of the video card.

The GTX 1060 with 6 GB of memory is the real queen of FullHD. Faster last year’s 980th (and even more so 980M) in new games, has more memory, supports improved texture compression algorithms and fast transforms to work with anti-aliasing loops. Play all the new items at high settings with a stable 60 fps – is easy.

For the 16 GB DDR4 RAM here is enough volume. More on the resolution of FullHD simply there is no need to put. If you decide to use the Chinese handsome not only for entertainment, but for work – there are two additional memory slots, at least two more for 16 GB – 48 “gigs” in the sum for sure enough.

Cherry on the cake – “screw” to terabyte. Few? But the real SSD with the corresponding reading speeds (550 MB / s) and recording (230 MB / s). The system is responsive, games start instantly, Photoshop easily grinds two gigabytes of RAW files.

Fashionable lines

The design of gaming laptops sometimes amazes, and no, not in the best sense – which only does not give rise to the violent imagination of the artist, when he hears the treasured word combination gaming laptop. And most manufacturers for some reason stubbornly continue to focus on: bright red accents, more highlighting, different shiny … So, Thunderobot did not care about such nonsense.

Matte work surfaces, neat frames around the display, non-marking plastic with a neutral gray texture, aluminum bottom and top cover are glued to the plastic power frame. Before the elegance of the forms and materials of the Cupertino standards, they may not have grown up yet, but at the same time many products of the A-brands were surpassed. Simply put, this laptop is not ashamed to get in public – no matter how many years you and they were.

Yes, there is a certain “Asiatic” in the decisions. On the left at the front end is a scatter of indicator LEDs, which at best will be used a couple of times in life, if at all. The bright blue LED in the power button and the acid-blue default backlight of the keyboard. Stickers and painted logos of various modules, which should show that the machine was assembled not from anonymous spare parts, but from branded ones. But all these are trifles (and the color of the backlight can be changed), and most importantly – there are no chrome inserts and red blocks on the WASD buttons and arrows.

Keyboard

The block of keys is executed neatly, with a three-zone active RGB-illumination, full-sized arrows and a full-format NUM-block. The layout of the keyboard is lapped off from one Taiwanese company, and it is not perfect.

The pointing tetrad is integrated into the print area and the digital block, F keys are not divided into groups of four, and their Fn-combinations are not very convenient for quick pressing with one hand. This ends the problem, and it’s good, because only pleasantries go further.

If you worked for “apple” laptops, you know why everyone praises their keyboard. So, the feeling of typing on Thunderobot – one in one first “poppies” with retina-display. Soft, slightly longish course, confident feeling of a click, a pleasant sound of the key worked. There is no dry crunch of cheap keyboards, no clanking clanking at the blank, no creaky “craps”, which are sometimes met even by quite decent manufacturers. Absolutely the same effort on all keys, a perfectly different operation. For the tactile sensations and quality of the keyboard work, the engineers have a big bouquet of chamomiles, they deserve it.

The backlight has several brightness levels, 256 shades (and it is stated at all 16 million), it is easily regulated by hotkeys and is perfectly customized through the keyboard manager. By the way, he can make “temperature maps” for subsequent analysis, work with macros (including recording macros for the mouse!) And generally behave in an adult way. If without guile – yes, software design does not reach the ideal, but here functionality from A-brands does not lag behind.

Touchpad

Another advantageous “chip” of the laptop is a stunningly accurate, fast and intuitive trackpad with multitouch support. The large glass panel from Synaptics distinguishes up to five touches and on tactile sensations stands on a level with the keyboard. Just open the laptop and use, without the need to get used to strange behavior or unusual acceleration of the cursor with sudden movements. Similar quality touchpads are not always found even in premium business beech.

Sound

According to the manufacturer (painted on the plastic body) Thunderobot installed the dynamics of the company ONKYO, and for the output of the signal on them is responsible for the built-in RealtekHD with the soft wrapper SoundBlaster X-fi MB5. If you turn off all the digital enhancement and “taste enhancers”, the sound will really remain good: there are a few low frequencies (but here the form factor limits the capabilities of the speaker system, nothing can be done), but the sound is clean, and at maximum volume it does without wheezing, Or metallic ringing of high frequencies.

You can listen to music at an average volume, but with headphones or even a simple external speaker, the quality is not comparable, but in games everything is surprisingly not bad. Sounds of shots, the car’s engine, natural effects and the voices of the characters sound lively and convincing, the “clipping” of the sound wave, left behind the frequency response of the speakers, is not felt. Built-in speakers are not the best on the market, but they do not spoil the overall picture: the middle class as it is, without imposing shortcomings or merits.

Screen

All, even the most expensive laptop screens suffer from improperly tuned gamut from the box. This is found even in “professional” models, chosen by designers and photographers – this is the payment for technological and marketing compromises.

It does not matter if the IPS is under the surface or simple TN – without hardware calibration, you can do photo and video processing at any adult level. Afterwards, the content production will simply not work: in the pursuit of a “juicy” picture, developers completely kill the accuracy of color transfer. To our luck with you, the “Chinese” from all of the above is practically healthy. Its matte FullHD IPS-matrix does a good job of its duties.

The color temperature is normal on most of the chart, the shadows and light suffer, but there the error in the measurements is quite high, and the gamma range is influenced in a characteristic way. Over the entire range of gray levels, the display showed a decent color balance accuracy: there are no stray colors either in the green-red plane or in blue-yellow.

For gaming and content-consumer purposes, the display is suitable immediately. He does not engage in amateur performances and does not paint the picture in other shades according to his understandable logic, and most importantly, his eyes do not get tired. But to work on it with graphics without additional configuration is not worth it. The gamma curve needs to be put in order, to return the color triangle to the sRGB space … well, or simply to connect a good external display, the advantage of modern connectors for the laptop is enough.

Hardware

There are no complaints about the hardware configuration – we already saw the performance of the i7 + GTX1060 + SSD bundle on other laptops, monoblocks and compact gaming systems. It remains only to check whether the designers are not screwed up with cooling. We unscrew the screws, we fight with plastic latches on the rear part of the case, and with the help of brute force (including verbal), as well as plastic blades, we remove the lower panel from the laptop.

No, nothing like that. In fact, everything is very decent: in addition to accurate assembly and the overall logical layout of the “filling”, inside the laptop reveals a huge potential for upgrade. To the existing 512 GB on the SSD, you can add 512 more or 1 TB to the second M.2 connector, connect two HDDs of the laptop format to SATA connectors. Unless you have to tinker with the RAM: easily accessible slots are already occupied, and two empty ones are located on the back side of the board.

Yes, but what about cooling? Huge heat pipes, large copper radiators and as many as three centrifugal turbines are engaged in blowing all this magnificence.

Performance

In synthetic 3DMark, everything is like people’s – the result is sure, and even after several consecutive runs, the numbers change within the statistical error. In games, and even better: you can torment your laptop all day, breaking through the hordes of demons in the interiors of the Martian base, and he will not even hiss at the owner of the cooling system turbines. It’s still quiet, and in the conditions of constant heating, both CPU and GPU keep at all adequately – the evenly-low hum of the cooling system does not cause discomfort. Screechy outbursts followed by calm or monotonous high frequencies, which some models of quite decent manufacturers allow themselves, are not here.

With performance everything is clear: cooling is decent, we already saw a similar “stuffing”, surprises are unlikely. But testing should continue.

The Vulkan API tends to increase performance on systems with 4+ GB of video memory: it more fully and efficiently utilizes resources than OpenGL, only it requires more memory for storing uncompressed data. Yes, it works so fast, but the requirements are higher. The laptop has a “full” GTX 1060 with 6 GB of GDDR5, so it successfully passes this test.

In Battlefield 1, we see the same picture: the two APIs from Microsoft, in conjunction with the tested hardware, produce quite expected results. The network operates normally, there are no differences from the game on a self-assembly PC or another laptop.

Forza 3 Horizon has replaced NFS from 2015 in our tests of “racing” performance. According to the level of technology used, if not in the top, then at least in the zone of active use of all the testing tools. A large number of reflections, including those implemented with ray tracing, complex lighting, high polygonal models … at “high” settings with a limiter of 60 fps, the game very rarely shows results at least a little below the maximum.

There are noticeable resource loadings when moving from one area to another – the frame rate drops to 50 for a couple of seconds. At speeds of three hundred in the busy traffic of city streets and among the rainy forests, productivity can sag a little, literally up to 52-54 fps, otherwise – confidently holds the bar. The maximum settings are available with “console” 30 fps, however, driving in this mode becomes more difficult: the response time to control commands is doubled. The slow-moving D / C cars are still there and there, but on some Ford GT from 2017, ricocheted to the limits of category S2 and rushing at 400 km / h, in the thirtieth of a second you fly almost four meters that can easily Become fatal for your racing career.

GTA V works perfectly. There are simply no other words. However, expect low performance from the product Rockstar, which is optimized by the most eyebrows, it would be strange. The game even on the 1050Ti feels confident, but in fact there is almost twice as powerful video.

The classics of our tests, the third “Witcher” on “high”, works perfectly and shows a stable frame rate, even if the laptop is not lying on a solid surface, but on a thick blanket. Not that this was a normal scenario for the operation of a gaming machine, and it will not be good for her, but, you know, you can indulge yourself an hour before going to sleep: “Chinese” courageously withstands even such mockery.

Performance in the “tournament” games, such as a network shooter from Blizzard, even to discuss there is no point: at the maximum settings, everything flies.

Conclusion

Aristotle, who knew no computers and generally lived in the “negative” years according to the current calendar, nevertheless already expressed a surprisingly accurate idea: “Good everywhere and everywhere depends on the observance of two conditions: the correct setting of the ultimate goals and the search for appropriate means Leading to the ultimate goal.”

The ultimate goal of the creators of Thunderobot ST-Pro was the optimal in terms of price-performance ratio gaming system in the notebook form factor. The laptop is extremely balanced set of “iron”, supplemented by an excellent cooling system. In this configuration can not be called a “dead-end” – there is a margin for the processor for a couple of years and everything to upgrade the storage subsystem. After all, modern games are already over 50 GB overloaded, as well as movies in Full HD format.

It’s a pleasure to work with the keyboard (almost the entire article is written on ST-Pro, and the author knows the key in keyboards – not one has changed and more than a dozen touched), the trackpad leaves pleasant sensations, the design and materials of the case do not cause rejection.

Yes, the Driver Installation Wizard dialog box sends greetings from GTA2 and Windows 98, the built-in software requires some habit, but is it really important if for a decent and perfectly working “hardware” they ask for nothing? And by the standards of classmates of this game monster – so generally give almost nothing.

Thunderobot ST-Pro did not set new performance records, did not receive a premium at the fine art exhibition and did not brew you coffee in the morning. But in one he is exactly the best of the best – in the ratio of results and prices. For all the adversities, stress tests, courage, patience and excellent results in all aspects of working quality, the laptop deservedly receives the title of “reasonable choice.”

Pros:

  • Perfectly balanced configuration;
  • Ready for upgrade;
  • Quality of production and work as in A-brands;
  • “Native” software allows you to customize the sound, keyboard, performance modes and even overclock the
  • processor / graphics card;
  • The price-to-exhaust ratio is fantastic.

Cons:

  • A gigantic power supply;
  • Empty connectors of the RAM are in a hard-to-reach place;
  • A little Asian interface management software.

 

Tags:

Category: Hardware, Technology

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